Yorgos Lanthimos on ‘The Favourite’ and Why He Used Extreme Wide-Angle Lenses

     November 21, 2018

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One of my favorite films of 2018 is director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. Loaded with amazing cinematography by Robbie Ryan, brilliant performances by the entire cast, a fantastic script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, amazing costumes and production design, and remarkable work from every other department, The Favourite is one of those special movies that you absolutely need to see on the biggest screen possible. Also, while Lanthimos had previously shown he was a gifted filmmaker with his previous work (The Killing of a Scared DeerThe Lobster, and Dogtooth) The Favourite only reinforces my belief that his talent behind the camera is still growing. Trust me, see this film.

the-favourite-posterIf you haven’t seen the trailers or read Perri Nemiroff’s glowing review, the film takes place in 18th century England, revolving around the frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) whose life with her close confidant and friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is upended when a new servant named Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives. But like all films by Lanthimos, any description does not do the film justice because of the way he uses cinema to express the story. The Favourite also stars Nicholas HoultJoe Alwyn, and Mark Gatiss. 

During my interview with Yorgos Lanthimos, he talked about collaborating with Robbie Ryan, why he wanted to take advantage of the large spaces using extreme wide-angle lenses and only natural light and candles to light the scenes, what it means to be part of a film people are buzzing about during awards season, what he learns from early screenings, how the film is a lot funnier than you might expect, and more.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. The Favourite is opening in limited release this week.

Yorgos Lanthimos:

  • He talks about working with Robbie Ryan on the look of the film and how the film was an opportunity to take things further with the camera lenses and cinematography.
  • the-favourite-olivia-colman

    Image Fox Searchlight

    How he wanted to take advantage of the large spaces and extreme wide-angle lenses using only natural light and candles to light the scenes.

  • What does it mean to be an Oscar movie?
  • What did he learn from early screenings that impacted the finished film?
  • How the film is a lot funnier than people might think.

Here’s the official synopsis for The Favourite:

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

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